Gaming news and opinion.

Monday, December 15, 2008

MMORPG Then and Now

I have been playing MMORPG since 3DO released Meridian 59 and before that I played L.O.R.D. on wildcat BBS. I was there in the hay day of Ultima Online and the misery of Ever Quest. Through out the years the market has done a lot of changing and now with it saturated with MMO titles of every type it seems to be dying out. The PC game market seems to be dying. Let's take a look at MMO then and now.

Meridian 59 was fantastic for being the first, you could roam around and explore things and kill people at will. The graphics look like a souped up doom engine. It was laggy at times but ran pretty good on a 66 mhz intel with 32 megs of RAM. For the time it was a sweet ass game.

Then came Ultima Online, my personal all time favorite mmorpg, it had everything the modern titles lack. I spent countless hours of wasted life playing this game, the PVP combat was intense, knowing that anyone anytime someone could come out of a moon gate or hiding and splatter you all over the forest was great.

(I'm Locke Cole)

Since this title was based on a skill system not a level system, you could really customize your character. Some players even did wacky combinations like a thief that could make cakes or a fisherman fencer. Since it was skill based you could at least fend off an attacker and get away. unlike level based games, where you die in one hit. The trade skill system was also ahead of it's time, you had to have a friend or a group of other traders if you went into the mines to dig for ore, there were always bandits and ore thieves around. This adds a strong element of realism and excitement to the game. Guilds had a dramatic impact on the game, you could raid other people's guild houses and steal/look the keys and get inside to plunder chest full of their crap. What made this game so great was the fact that you were so venerable. You won some and lost some. As a player you had to be quick with the mouse and in your head. The modern mmorpg takes away all the real excitement and replaces it with mindless loot gathering and boring raids.

After a few years other people like Microsoft and Sony wanted to get in the market. Microsoft released Ashron's Call. This title was pretty good, i beta tested it a while and dabbled after release but went back to Ultima despite the lame anti PVP patches. Then some time later our friends at Sony released EverQuest. Like most gamers at the time, I was awed by the 3D client. The fact that there was a 3d mmorpg at the time was mind blowing. The first few months of the game were pretty good. Players could turn a PVP switch on and get busy, you could even loot one item and get some money after each kill. There were reds all over the place, but as always corporate America wants to secure 100% subscription rates and listened to a few babies that complained about pvp after they turned their switch on.

After that ended i tried to play the game as is, with the hours and hours of grinding experience points in one spot. i mean fucking hours! hours of killing the same monster over and over again. in the exact same spot. i spent like a month in high keep killing the same goblins in the basement. It was mind numbing! That game was all about getting a few uber items and sitting at the Freeport bank chatting about lame shit. Power gamers getting in one of 4 guilds on the server, then bitching about who got what uber loot.

I have to give Sony credit, they really knew how to get every day America hooked to their subscription game. The need to posses fictitious items. fucking geed.

Moving on to a little company in the Netherlands called Funcom, they were cooking up some pretty cool shit. Anarchy Online, I alpha and beta tested this thing. The first few clients were at the time fucking amazing yet buggy as hell. That game had a giant memory leak and was a bitch to run most of the time. After release it was pretty stable but in the long run i didn't play it that much. For the time it was an impressive title. I was just burnt out on mmorpg and went back to playing counter-strike and starcraft.

Dark Ages of Camelot came out promising this and that, but fell pretty short if you asked me. Fucking LAME!

Moving on to Shadowbane, this thing was being worked on for a long time. They were talking about this not to long after UO came out. So it finally comes out and was pretty amazing, it had everything! you could openly pvp, build and destroy towns. perfect! The graphics were dated and the client was pretty rock solid. I was in love for a few weeks. What really killed this game was power gamers. The developers didn't count on one guild getting 80% of the server in it's roster with in the first month. Some guild that got ban from EverCrack was on there power gaming their asses off. Ebonlore was their name, with an ever so lame slogan "step into the dark" What kind of lame shit is that? More like step the fuck back to everquest you n00b piece of shit.

My roommate and i who both played rouges, tore these guys to shreds, i mean we killed tons of them all the time. The one good thing about that guild being on our server was that there was always someone to kill. After a while it got old. With no chance of ever having a giant some what balanced guild battle we quit. I love open PVP but the point of shadowbane was open guild vs guild pvp, siege warfare, well you can't have this when there is only one guild on the server.

It goes to show you that power gaming is lame and fucks it up for everyone, like cheating on counter-strike.

At last Star Wars Galaxies, who would of thought this fantastic game went in the direction that it did. When it was released i was so excited!!! People were all of the place, there was even PVP!! Everything was great, it was just kind of buggy. The great thing about SWG was it had a skill based leveling system, you could really create your own play style with your class. The trade skills are in my option some of the best ever and it just kicked ass. I tried playing this last winter before i built my new uber system. Wow did they ever fuck that game up! It seems this NGE patch destroyed over a dozen classes and left the game with like 8, and the server are empty. let's not forgot about the poor jedi class, the once uber class went from being the most powerful to being around every corner, because everyone is a jedi now. What the fuck? At least Bioware is making a KOTOR mmorpg now.

I pre ordered Age Of Conan and for the most part it's pretty good. the graphics kick ass, the combat system rules. The game is simply not finished and has the classic funcom memory leak the client. If they can hang on to enough subscribers to fix it and do something to make GvG balanced and fun, I'll check it out again, but for now I'm just about sick of restarting my client and computer every hour just to crash back to desktop again at random.

World of Warcraft, World of fucking warcraft. Jesus fucking christ people! I avoided this title since the day it came out, i just knew better. Though i finally gave in a month ago to play with some friends. After i spent 3 days downloading the 14 day trial I logged into this piece of shit. It really blows my mind that this game has all the subscriptions. The graphics are fucking AWFUL! The combat system is dated and boring, the quest are mindless. the landscapes are boring. the community is dumb. it has everything i hate about every other mmo that has come out all rolled into one big piece of shit game. it's all about the stupid looking glow effect loot. I felt like i could play that game sleeping, it was so mindless. all of the thinking is done for you. it's the mmo for that jock douche bag you hated in school. The mmo for some thirty something year old housewife. Developers are using these ideas on new games. look at Warhammer, everything is instance based, so you never see another fucking should because everyone is power gaming in a safe little bubble. What's the point of playing an mmorpg if you are only with a few other people all the time. I hate how dumbed down and safe everything is, I hate the look, I hate EVERYTHING about WoW. It's bullshit that modern games are being modeled after this bastard. There are a few good games out there right now that just need support to grow, but people are so busy standing around in their glowing uber loot suit, chatting with house wives and other idiots to give them a try. I would go as far to say that WoW is killing the whole god damn industry.

There are only a few good titles out there right now, I'm currently kicking the tires on Vanguard. For the most part it's a good game. The craft system rules, there is a lot to do and the fact you can get flying mounts is a plus. Having transportation is a right not a status symbol. You can even build ships and houses. They put a lot of time into it. The one thing it lacks is a pvp system, there is a pvp server but it's a ghost town. I think the best way to do it would be a pvp zone that's just open for fighting. We will see what happens, the company has not touched pvp in a year and the title isn't even on the shelf anywhere. PC games in general are getting hard to find outside of the Internet. It's all about the consoles. If these companies keep putting out flops and wasting money they will jsut stop making them all together and at this point the mmorpg is the anchor for the pc gaming market. It's the only thing you can only play on a PC. If that gets fucked out then the consoles will get dibs on everything and we will be left where we are now, waiting on a shitty console to pc port.

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